Nasa confirms metal chunk that crashed into Florida home was space junk

<span>Nasa confirmed that space debris that fell into a Florida man's home was from the International Space Station.</span><span>Photograph: Nasa</span>
Nasa confirmed that space debris that fell into a Florida man's home was from the International Space Station.Photograph: Nasa

A heavy chunk of metal that crashed through the roof of a Florida home is, in fact, space junk, Nasa has confirmed.

The federal space agency said that a cylinder slab that tore through a house in Naples, Florida, last month was debris from a cargo pallet released from the international space station in 2021, according to a Nasa blogpost.

The determination was made after the agency collected the debris from the Florida home and analyzed it at the Kennedy Space Center.

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“Based on the examination, the agency determined the debris to be a stanchion from the Nasa flight support equipment used to mount the batteries on the cargo pallet,” the agency said.

The pallet, which contained ageing nickel hydride batteries, was released after new lithium-ion batteries were installed in the space station.

The debris was supposed to be destroyed in the Earth’s atmosphere. Instead, a piece of metal crashed through a Florida home, NBC News reported.

The debris weighs 1.6lb and measures about 4in by 1.6in.

Homeowner Alejandro Otero described the experience to WINK News, which first reported the story.

“It was a tremendous sound. It almost hit my son. He was two rooms over and heard it all,” Otero said to WINK.

“Something ripped through the house and then made a big hole on the floor and on the ceiling.”

The scientific journal Ars Technica previously speculated that the metal was probably space station debris. Nasa finally confirmed the origin of the chunk on Monday.

The space agency added that it would investigate how the debris managed to survive its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and “update modeling and analysis”.

It is unclear if Nasa will cover the cost of damages to Otero’s home.

In comments posted to X shortly after the incident, Otero said that Nasa had not responded to messages he left with the agency.